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Solar Cell

— Marine

EnergySails harness wind and solar power to cut ship fuel consumption

By - November 13, 2012 6 Pictures
In the 400 years or so leading up to the adoption of steam power in the 19th century, sailing ships ruled the waves. In an effort to cut increasing fuel costs and reduce emissions, sails are set to once again prove their worth. But unlike the sails proposed by B9 Shipping and the Wind Challenger Project, Japan-based Eco Marine Power (EMP) is developing sails with an even more modern twist. Rather than just harnessing the power of the wind, EMP’s EnergySail can be fitted with solar panels to also harness solar power. Read More
— Science

Hybrid nanomaterial converts light and heat into electricity

By - November 13, 2012 1 Picture
We’ve seen nanomaterials that can be used to convert light into electricity and others that can convert heat into electricity. Now researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington and Louisana Tech University have created a hybrid nanomaterial that can do both. By pairing the material with microchips, the researchers say it could be used in self-powered sensors, low-power electronic devices, and biomedical implants. Read More
— Environment

First true “all-carbon” solar cell developed

By - October 31, 2012 1 Picture
Researchers at Stanford University have developed an experimental solar cell made entirely of carbon. In addition to providing a promising alternative to the increasingly expensive materials used in traditional solar cells, the thin film prototype is made of carbon materials that can be coated onto surfaces from a solution, cutting manufacturing costs and offering the potential for coating flexible solar cells onto buildings and car windows. Read More
— Science

Black silicon could boost efficiency of traditional solar cells

By - October 3, 2012 2 Pictures
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications have developed a system that allows solar cells to effectively harvest energy from the infrared spectrum, tapping into a source of energy that in the past has mostly been out of reach. The new technology, which promises to work well with commercially available solar cells, has the potential of becoming a standard in the solar panels of tomorrow. Read More
— Environment

V3Solar puts a new spin on PV efficiency

By - September 30, 2012 5 Pictures
For the vast majority of those looking to harvest energy from the sun to satisfy domestic or business electricity needs, the photovoltaic world is a static and flat one. Even many large scale solar farms feature row upon row of rigid panels, although there may at least be some movement as the panels follow the path of the sun as it moves across the sky. V3Solar's Spin Cell is a little different. It's claimed to be capable of generating over 20 times more electricity than a flat panel with the same area of PV cells thanks to a combination of concentrating lenses, dynamic spin, conical shape, and advanced electronics. Read More
— Environment

Spinach protein boosts efficiency of “biohybrid” solar cells

By - September 6, 2012 6 Pictures
Popeye gets his strength from downing a can of spinach and what works for him also works for solar panels. Researchers at Vanderbilt University led by David Cliffel and Kane Jennings have come up with a way to dope silicon with a protein found in spinach to create a more efficient "biohybrid" solar cell that produces substantially more electrical current than previous efforts and may one day lead to cheaper, more efficient solar panels. Read More
— Science

Breakthrough allows inexpensive solar cells to be fabricated from any semiconductor

By - August 3, 2012 3 Pictures
Despite their ability to generate clean, green electricity, solar panels aren't as commonplace as the could be. The main sticking point, of course, is price. Due to their need for relatively expensive semiconductor materials, conventional solar cells don't yet have a price-efficiency combination that can compete with other sources of electricity. Now Profs. Alex Zettl and Feng Wang of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley have developed seriously unconventional solar cell technology that allows virtually any semiconductor material to be used to create photovoltaic cells. Read More
— Environment

UCLA produces transparent solar cells that harness infrared light

By - July 25, 2012 1 Picture
A UCLA team has developed a new type of solar cell that is nearly 70 percent transparent to the naked eye. The plastic cells, which use infrared instead of visible light, are also more economical than other types of cells because they are made by an inexpensive polymer solution process and nanowire technology, potentially paving the way for cheaper solar windows. Read More
— Environment

German researchers developing higher-efficiency organic solar cells

By - July 4, 2012 1 Picture
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, through its Light Technology Institute, this month will initiate new research on printable organic solar cells. The four-year project aims at increasing the efficiency of such cells to more than 10 percent. These promising, cheaper solar cells can be manufactured using existing techniques such as screen printing and continuous roll-to-roll processes. So far, however, low efficiency rates have stood between these cells and the market. Read More
— Environment

Two-faced solar cells boost yields by up to 50 percent

By - July 3, 2012 3 Pictures
Israeli photovoltaics developer bSolar has developed a double-sided solar cell it claims can boost the energy yields of solar panels by up to 50 percent when installed vertically, or by between 10 and 30 percent in more typical installations. The "bifacial" cells rely on a back surface field (BSF) of boron rather than aluminum, which bSolar claims not only allows for an open rear face but also increases the efficiency at the front of the solar panel. Read More
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